What is balance?

Balance refers to our ability to maintain our centre of gravity within our base of support.

We rely on 3 main balance systems in our body to ensure we stay upright and keep our balance, they are:

  1. Vision – We rely heavily on our vision for balance. It provides feedback to our brain on how we are orientated in relation to other objects.
  2. Proprioception – refers to our muscles and joints knowing where they are in space. As your muscles and joints move they provide feedback to your brain with information such as where your limbs are positioned or what type of surface you are walking on. E.g. your muscles and joints will need to work harder when walking on a soft surface compared to a hard surface.
  3. Vestibular – Our vestibular system is in our inner ear and provides input to our brain regarding motion, equilibrium, and spatial orientation.

What types of balance are there?

Static balance – is very important and refers to maintaining our balance while not moving. This is extremely important for everyday life to ensure we can sit in a chair or stand still while brushing our teeth without falling.

Dynamic balance – refers to maintaining our balance while moving. The more we are moving then the stronger we require our dynamic balance to be. E.g. a football player who is sprinting and changing directions will require more dynamic balance than someone who likes walking along the beach.

Why is balance important?

Balance is extremely important for people of all ages as it can:

  • Reduce your risk of falls
  • Prevent injury e.g. sprained ankles
  • Decrease pain in your limbs and joints
  • Improve sporting performance

Improving your balance with the right treatment and exercises is very simple after a thorough assessment of your current balance levels. So, before you fall head over heels, come in and see the team at Mid North Coast Physiotherapy to get some balance back in your life!

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